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Grace Oyelude, first ever Miss Nigeria, celebrates her 87th Birthday


Grace Atinuke is known to be the first-ever Miss Nigeria, having won the pageant, which is also the maiden edition in 1957, is marking her 88th birthday today.

The now Grandmother, born November 16, 1931, hails from Kogi State, was born in Kano to James Adeleye Olude and Marthan Dantu, who both hail from Isanlu, present-day Kogi State.

The story of how she became the first Miss Nigeria is as riveting as her enigmatic personality, even in her advanced old age.

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Miss Nigeria started in 1957 as a photo contest, whereby contestants posted photographs of themselves to The Daily Times headquarters in Lagos. Finalists were shortlisted, and successful finalists were invited to compete in the live final at the Lagos Island Club.

Then, the Miss Nigeria contest did not include a swimsuit competition.

Then, Oyelude was working at UAC when she represented the then Northern region. After winning the contest, she travelled to England where she studied Nursing. Within months of gaining admission to the School of Nursing in Ashford, she was crowned Miss Nigeria.

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She tells her story: “I was living in Kano then. My brother saw the advertisement in the newspapers and advised me to go to Lagos for an interview to be selected as a Miss Nigeria contestant.

42nd Miss Nigeria, Chidinma Aaron, took to her Instagram page, shared some photos with the first-ever Miss Nigeria and wrote captioning:

“Happy Birthday Mama Grace Atinuke Oyelude, Miss Nigeria the 1st

“I celebrate you. Your new age is no small feat. It is a blessing bestowed on you by the almighty. And by extension, on the rest of us.
Grateful for meeting you, spending time with you and getting to know you for myself. You’re warm and wise. You’re concise and confident. You’re more than words would let me share. 88 hearty cheers mama.”